image

HNA Group

China’s embattled HNA might sell US-based Radisson Hotel Group to pay off its debt

HNA has been aggressively selling assets this year to pay down heavy debt incurred during a multi-year buying spree

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 June, 2018, 3:24am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 June, 2018, 3:25am

HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate selling assets to pay down debt, is exploring a sale of Radisson Hotel Group, according to people familiar with the matter.

HNA has been gauging interest from rival hotel chains and other potential buyers of the Minneapolis-based company, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. There is no certainty the talks will lead to a sale, they said.

HNA dissolves Hong Kong unit as it struggles to repay debt

“While it has been widely reported that HNA has recently been exploring the sale of some of its assets, we are in a very strong place with our business and remain committed to our go-forward strategy,” John Kidd, chief executive of Radisson’s operations in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.

“Any additional questions about a potential sale would need to be answered by HNA,” he added. A representative for HNA declined to comment.

HNA has been aggressively selling assets this year to pay down heavy debt incurred during a multi-year buying spree. It agreed to sell a Minneapolis office tower for US$320 million to Samsung Group, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. It has also sold down stakes in Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

HNA brings Radisson to market as hotel operators benefit from a strong global economy and a growing appetite for travel among middle class people across the world.

The travel and tourism sector grew 4.6 per cent in 2017, outpacing the growth of the global economy by 50 per cent, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

HNA acquired Radisson in 2016, when it was called Carlson Hotels. Today, the chain operates or has under development more than 1,400 hotels around the world under eight brands, including Radisson, Park Plaza and Country Inn & Suites, according its website.

With Minneapolis tower sale, HNA disposals cross US$14.5 billion

It also owns a controlling stake in Radisson Hospitality AB, the Brussels-based operator of hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a market value of about U$541 million.

A representative for Radisson Hospitality AB didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment left outside regular business hours in Sweden.